The Berks County Adult Probation & Parole Internship Program is designed to provide a “hands-on” learning experience for students working towards a bachelor’s or master’s degree in the fields of criminal justice or social services.  Participants will be exposed to many different aspects of the criminal justice system including but not limited to; utilization of evidenced based practices; interactions with various law enforcement agencies, counseling agencies, and corrections professionals; observation of the Court system; current technologies; and the core competencies involved with working with offenders.

The Berks County Adult Probation & Parole Department is an arm of the 23rd Judicial District of Pennsylvania.  At any given time, on average, the Adult Probation & Parole Department supervises approximately 8,000 offenders, countywide.  Currently, offenders are supervised based on one of several categories including; Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD), Domestic Violence, Gang, Sex Offender, Driving Under the Influence (DUI), Treatment Courts (DUI, Drug, Mental Health, Veterans), and General.  The Department is responsible for holding offenders accountable by monitoring and enforcing Court orders. 

Probation officers work with offenders by targeting criminogenic needs and coordinating/delivering services designed to reduce their risk to recidivate.  The department works closely with a wide variety of agencies and providers in an effort to accomplish this goal.  A probation officer must possess and utilize many skills including; motivation interviewing techniques; a comprehension of cognitive behavioral therapy; the ability to develop a therapeutic alliance with offenders; a thorough understanding of sentencing and law; control tactics training (including firearms, TASER, oleoresin capsicum spray, handcuffing/restraints, etc.).

Intern candidates will apply to the Berks County Probation & Parole Department by completing the emplolyment application and submitting them to Deputy Chief Nick Volo ( – 610-478-3400).  Candidates that meet the requirements will be reviewed, and prospective interns will be interviewed.  The department will accept up to two interns per semester.  Potential interns should be contacting us at least two months prior to their prospective semester.

Internship Requirements

  • Must be a junior or senior at a college or university with a minimum GPA of 2.8
  • MSW field placements can be accommodated if candidate has arrangements for an MSW field placement supervisor
  • Submission of the following forms:
    • Letter of Intent (includes required hours and tentative schedule)
    • County of Berks Application – Position Desired: APO Unpaid Intern
    • Resume
    • Copy of College Transcripts (Unofficial is Acceptable)
  • Must agree to a criminal background check
  • Must have a valid driver’s license and auto insurance
  • Interns may have the opportunity to spend some time in the Berks County Juvenile Probation Department which requires the following:
    • Child Abuse History Clearance from the Department of Human Service
    • Pennsylvania State Police Criminal History

For assistance with these clearances visit:

Potential Internship Experiences/Observations

Intake Department

  • Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) Interview- Defendant is interviewed and a report is provided for consideration for acceptance into the ARD Program. (ARD is an elective program for first time offenders in which there is no conviction and charges may be dismissed upon successful completion of the program)
  • Pre-Sentence Investigation (PSI) – Defendant is interviewed and a report is provided to the Court with specific information used for sentencing consideration upon entrance of plea or conviction
  • Collection and processing of DNA samples
  • Submission of sentencing guidelines to the Pennsylvania Sentencing Guideline Commission
  • Institutional Parole Division

Caseload Supervision

  • General – a generic caseload comprising of probation/parolees (example offenses; burglary, robbery, theft, possession, etc.)

  • DUI offenders (predominantly first offense)
  • Community Service/ARD
  • Gang Unit
  • Domestic Violence
  • Sex Offender
  • Inter-county/Interstate

Long-term pre-trial and post-trial components with Judicial and Interdepartmental intervention, including treatment courts, and electronic monitoring

  • Drug Treatment Court
  • Mental Health Treatment Court
  • Veterans Treatment Court
  • DUI Treatment court
  • DUS/DUI – Driving Under Suspension/DUI related

Special Operations Programs

  • Operation Nightlight
  • Tactical Training
  • Firearms Training

General Program Policies

  • The intern must read and sign all the appropriate documents prior to the start date
  • The intern must dress at all times in business professional attire
  • The intern must exhibit appropriate and professional behaviors at all times
  • An intern shall never use his/her personal vehicle for probation business
  • An intern shall never assist Probation Officers when taking a defendant into custody.  However, an intern may be an observer of the process
  • At no time will an intern make ANY decisions regarding a defendant
  • The intern may be required to complete some of the rudimentary paperwork functions within the Adult Probation/Parole Office
  • The intern may be required to complete a project during their term

Schedule of Events

Phase #1

At least 35 hours in Intake:  General duties of intake officers including: Pre-Sentence Investigation (PSI) interview; Prior Record Score determination; Criminal History review; Sentencing Guidelines; Rules and information relative to parole process; Community Service and Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition process. 

All tasks required must be completed and signed off by the supervising officer. 

  • 14 hours Intake Department:
    • ARD/PSI interview
    • ARD/PSI full process, background investigation, sentencing guidelines
    • BCP PSI Interview
    • DNA process, live collection
  • 7 hours Parole Unit:
    • Time will be spent with both IPO’s
    • BCP Parole Process, ET, Min. and Max Dates
    • BCP Parole Plan Interview
  • 14 hours ARD/Community Service Officer:
    • ARD/Community Service Interview and process
    • Attend a large group ARD sentencing
    • Visit Community Service sites

Phase #2

At least 35 hours General Caseload Officers:  

  • All duties of general supervision functions
  • Daily reporting interview
  • Gagnon I
  • Gagnon II video and Judge
  • Warrant process including the walk through
  • Risk assessment screener
  • Full risk assessment interview 

Phase #3

70 hours Specialized Caseloads

  •  Treatment Courts (DUI, Drug, Mental Health, Veterans)
    • Shadow Officer(s)
    • Attend court
    • Attend treatment court meeting(s)
    • Observe (in office) an EM installation
  • Domestic Violence
    • Shadow DV Officer
    • Attend Indirect Criminal Contempt (ICC) court
    • Attend DV group treatment meeting
  • Sex Offender Caseload
    • Shadow SO Officer
    • Attend rules when given to Offender, if possible
    • Attend SO group
  • Gang caseload
    • Shadow Gang Officer
    • Attend Gang information sharing meeting
    • Attend Gang treatment group

Phase #4

Any of these functions can be replaced with the above items due to limited availability 

  • Shadow ACPO, DCPO, or CPO
  • Firearms Training FIT or Range
  • Tactical Training
  • Observation of Juvenile Probation Department